HC Deb 22 March 1988 vol 130 c191
12. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans for the introduction into service of the multiple-launch rocket system.

Mr. Sainsbury

As my predecessor stated in answer to the hon. Gentleman on 5 June 1986, the contract for the European production of the multiple launch rocket system phase 1 was placed by Germany on behalf of the European partners in May 1986. The United Kingdom plans to introduce MLRS into service around the end of this decade.

Mr. Pike

Will MLRS be nuclear capable? Will the Minister assure the House today that neither nuclear nor chemical warheads will be fitted to MLRS? Does he accept that the system will cause verification problems in respect of both conventional and nuclear weapons, as it can use various warheads?

Mr. Sainsbury

I remind the hon. Gentleman that the Warsaw pact has had similar systems that are chemically capable since the 1940s. The rockets planned for the MLRS are of several types of warhead. These include bomblets in phase 1, mines in phase 2, and guided sub-munitions for attack on armoured vehicles in phase 3.